Luft details the abortion in a new, posthumous memoir, Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland, due out March 1 and excerpted in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. The book is based on notes from his autobiography that was drafted and never published before his death in 2005.
The iconic star of The Wizard of Oz was still married to her second husband, Vincente Minnelli, when she began seeing Luft and became pregnant with his child in 1951.
Garland and Luft, a former boxer and test pilot who had become her manager, were working on a show together at New York’s Palace Theatre at the time, and he didn’t react well to the news.
“I found myself saying, ‘Of course I want your baby, but we’ve got a show to do,’ ” Luft recalls in the book.
“Because of my negative reaction, Judy didn’t confide in me where and when she was going to have the abortion. I wasn’t attentive. I didn’t send flowers,” he continues.
For more about Judy Garland and Sid Luft’s marriage, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE — on newsstands Friday
Nevertheless, their bond survived, and the pair were married from 1952 to 1965. Luft, the father of Garland’s children Lorna and Joey Luft, went on to orchestrate the star’s famous comeback concerts and produce her comeback film, 1954’s A Star Is Born, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.